Sentencing and Corrections System

Sentencing and Corrections System

Even though rehabilitation is one of the listed purposes of sentencing, its capability to achieve the goals has been questioned at length. On the contrary, incapacitation unlike the other retribution methods is the severest form of punishment that reduces the possibility of the criminal’s reversion for a specific period of time. According to Mackenzie (2001), the world has been witnessing enormous changes in the philosophy and practice of sentencing and corrections during the last thirty years. The early twentieth century justice systems emphasized more on rehabilitation, whereas, by the end of the century emphasis was given on fairness and justice, considering sentences as necessary. With the changes of time, the concept of sentencing was altered into a crime-control method that focused on incarceration intending to reduce the amount of crime in the community. According to Mackenzie (2001), the four essential and fundamental goals attributed to the sentencing process are retribution, rehabilitation, deterrence, and incapacitation. Retribution is based on the basic principle that those who break the law must be prosecuted. However, deterrence focuses the hardness of punishment. As a result, offenders are discouraged to commit any further crimes considering rationally the cost of punishment which is too hard. The process of Incapacitation physically confines the person into prison, providing him no further chance o commit any crime. On the other hand, rehabilitation tries to develop the offender’s behavior thinking which may prevent persons from continuing to commit crimes. The sentences frequently meet several of these objectives in practice emphasizing the priority of them. However, emphasis of the methods is given to protect the public and the mechanisms are expected to provide public safety. The objectives and goals of punishment have been changing with the passage of time. and the number of persons under the correctional supervision in the United States has been enlarging rapidly. Variations in the philosophy and practice of sentencing and corrections can create significant impacts on the imprisonment rates. In the opinion of Mackenzie (2001), some of the issues during the mid twentieth century were the arguments for abandoning the rehabilitation model as well the demand for increased crime control through incapacitation and deterrence. Proponents asked for limitation off the authority of judges and correctional administrators on moderate criminal offences and to bring minimum mandatory sentences. However, everyone agree with the notion that crime prevention with the help of incapacitations is a major justification of justice. The overall impact also considers the impact on individual offenders, who are restricted by several Federal and State laws that deny the right to vote, hold offices, and engage in particular occupations. Sentencing has been affecting the state and federal corrections system throughout the years. The sentencing principle focused more on incarceration, having greater impacts on the total legal structure of the nation. As Blumstein (n.d) pints out, 12 percent of the increase in incarceration rates was due to more offenses being committed. Variations in the philosophy of sentencing and correction have a dramatic impact on the criminal judicial system. Even when some States did not alter to a determinate sentencing procedure, they undertook the changes to